The unusual protein-rich sweat produced by horses may help keep them cool, but it can spell a lot of trouble for allergy sufferers.

Horses lather up when they sweat, and it’s all because of a special protein in the sweat appropriately named latherin.

This protein-rich sweat is an unsual adaptation to meet the challenges of keeping cool, with the latherin being a key component. It produces a significant reduction in water surface tension at low concentrations acting as a wetting agent to help evaporative cooling through the waterproof pelt of horses... READ MORE
 
Published in Articles
Thursday, 31 August 2017 17:30

To Give Up Or To Give It One More Shot?

With every challenge or obstacle in life, there is always the underlying question as to whether you should give up or give it one more shot when times get tough. I recently read ‘Forever Amber’ by Katy Dixon, and as it so truthfully says

“When the impossible is your reality, be prepared to fight harder”.

Whether you are a child trying to learn to ride your bike and can’t quite grasp the concept without stabilisers or you’re trying to perfect your canter or jump your biggest course, there are times in life when giving up feels like the only option. It’s impossible, I can’t do it. It’s just easier to walk away.

Now this isn’t a sob story, oh no, see I want this to be a motivational post to anyone whose facing a difficult time or situation and just feels the need and want to give up. I want everyone to realise that there is always a glimpse of hope in any situation and that this should be your foundation on which to grow. As most of you will have seen on my profile, I recently got a new horse called Freddie! He’s 16’2hh with the biggest pony personality and honestly one of the kindest horses I have ever met. He’s such a food addict for a thoroughbred but we could work with that, after all it’s better than a worrier! So the countdown began from the 21st May for my new superstar to come home once I’d finished my A Level exams. However a phone call on the 15th June was one of those heart sinking moments where to give up or give it one more shot became real. 

Freddie was staying at the racing yard he’d retired from which is a stone’s throw away from where my horses are kept now, which meant I could still visit him even though he wasn’t with me full time. On the 15th June 2017 I got a phone to say that Freddie had contracted a swelling on his near fore tendon. I was heartbroken and so worried as a suspected tendon injury as we all know could jeopardise a horse’s future and wellbeing altogether. It was also awful timing with a history exam the very next day! But nevertheless the vets were contacted and Freddie was due to be scanned the following week. 

Wednesday 21st June Freddie travelled down to Whitelodge Veterinary Clinic. He got off the lorry happy as larry, even in the sweltering heat and was such a good boy standing impeccably the whole time. I was so proud of him. We had the best man on the job, Phil our vet is honestly the best in the South West, especially anything leg related, his advice and verdict was to be crucial. After carrying out the X-ray Phil confirmed our worst nightmare, Freddie had injured his superficial digital flexor tendon. To be precise he had created a complete hole, more than likely caused in his last race but had come to the surface a few weeks later, Phil classed it as a 3/10 injury. I was heartbroken, my darling Freddie was injured and there was nothing that could be done. I tried to remain positive and held onto the thought that Freddie was not lame or actually feeling any pain, he was as happy as ever eating away, not a worry in the world! Phil explained a rehab plan which included:

4/5 months of complete controlled rest 
Ice treatment for no more than one hour at a time for around 2/3 weeks until swelling reduced
Bandage both front legs- gradually after 3/4 weeks begin to take bandages off for around 4 hours and then if no swelling or heat appears keep bandages off for longer etc.
NOT complete box rest- a controlled environment (small paddock + stable) – must not gallop! 

Walk him gently and gradually 

 A lot of discussions were now needed with my parents as to what we were going to do.

This wasn’t the same as purchasing your average horse. Freddie has lived a million stories, he’s battled through the good and the bad and having been at a national hunt yard from age 4-9 and then the point to point yard for the last two seasons, he sure has given it his all. Freddie was a horse that deserved this chance, no it wasn’t ideal, it sounded completely obscured to most people. But from the very first day I met him I had the biggest dreams for him and they still stand, I know he will be a superstar. My amazing parents agreed that I could give Freddie this chance and after agreeing it with the owner of the pony which I ride and where Freddie would be staying, the countdown began again! 

 

14th August 2017- 84 days since my countdown began back in May, after trying and falling in love with Fred, he finally made his way home. To say he was excited was an understatement! Being a 4 minute walk down the road to his new home, it was much easier than fussing about with travelling! After over 8 weeks on confined rest, he saw his bridle and thought “Yeehaaa!” So I walked my 18hh+ stallion home clinging to the reins for dear life and thinking “Oh dear god what have I done?!?!” But Freddie being the Freddie I knew settled immediately, happily snacking away on his haynet and poking his head out to talk to his new friends! Definitely time for a cuppa by this point! 

Freddie has been such an angel since, he’s been walked out in hand, behaving so, so well and has begun to go out by day in his little paddock. He’s as happy as anything as his ‘all-inclusive holiday’ has continued! Not sure when to warn him he’s not retired …!! I honestly feel so lucky to be able to keep my boy with my other best friends, they all get on so well which is so important. For now its lots of care for his leg, lots of good food to keep him looking and feeling well and lots of kisses and cuddles! (He’s getting bored of these already!!)  

I know Freddie will be a superstar, and I have the biggest of dreams for him. One day I hope everyone will have heard of OHIO GOLD, for being the true champion he is. I love him dearly and can’t wait for the real adventures to begin. But for now, that’s our story, chapter one I like to call it of a book that I am sure will be a rollercoaster journey but whether it be up or down, to have my lionhearted best friend by my side means the absolute world to me. 

 
Stay tuned for more updates! 
Kaitlin & Freddie xx
Published in Member Blogs
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 11:42

Part Two: Now I’m Afraid | Anna Blake

[Part One: My Horse Betrayed Me.]

Something bad happened. The details don’t need to be repeated for me to understand. It doesn’t matter whose fault it was; whether it was you or your horse. Excuses don’t help and emotions are rarely swayed by logic. Your trust has been broken.

Now you feel fear. Fear in the saddle. Fear about horses in general, but most importantly, fear toward your own horse. 

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist; I just act like it when I give riding lessons. 

First, can we all admit that tight feeling in the gut is something we have all know well? There is nothing unusual about a feeling of anxiety while climbing on a thousand-pound prey animal with keen senses and a flight response. It’s normal human instinct. 

The most common thing that good horsewomen tell me is that they don’t ride like they did when they were kids–as if that’s a bad thing. Kids don’t have good hands or clear cues; what I remember most is going where the horse wanted to because I had no steering. Some of us rode fast and bounced when we fell, but the truth remains. Riding wilder is not better. It frightens horses. Bravado or dumb luck will never qualify as good horsemanship.

And worst of all, there is a huge ration of self-loathing that comes along when a rider admits they’re timid. It takes up as much room in a rider’s heart as the fear does. It’s the self-loathing that hurts the most to hear and see in a client. I’m certain horses feel the same.

Well, words matter. I’m going go back and do some editing before we continue.

Now you feel fear common sense. Fear Common sense in the saddle. Fear Common sense about horses in general, but most importantly, fear common sense toward your own horse.

The problem isn’t that we have fear common sense, it’s that we love horses and aren’t giving them up. Now what?

In my experience, hard feelings grow in the dark. Most of us have some time or place that the bogey man threatens us. I won’t say ignore him; there’s usually a spark of truth there. You should be cautious about monsters under the bed (lock the house, be careful in parking lots, and yes, monitor the dangers of riding.) Part of that fear common sense is an instinct for self-preservation. Like a horse.

At the same time, it’s incredibly powerful to drag your bogey man out into the daylight. The first time you admit that you’re timid, your voice might quiver a bit but right after that, your heart starts beating again. Your jeans feel like you’ve lost weight. And you have.

Riders get told to relax because horses can read our emotions. It’s true but humans who listen with their eyes read them, too. It doesn’t matter what you think intellectually, how much experience you have with horses, or what you should have done. Act timid or act with bravado, but you aren’t fooling us, so why not admit it out loud?

Share your feelings. Notice that the rest of us are just like you and let go of the self-loathing part. Besides, a bogey man doesn’t have a chance in the broad daylight with a bunch of middle-aged women glaring at him.

And while we’re being honest, one more bit of sideways truth. However it happened that your trust was damaged, it wasn’t that you lost control of your horse. You never had control. As a recovering Type-A who thought she could steer her horse, and the rest of her life, to brilliant happiness, I feel qualified to say the sooner we get over thinking we can even control our hair, the better we’ll be.

Let it go. 

Forgive your horse. He responded by instinct; he didn’t betray you or want to hurt you. Forgive him because holding a grudge doesn’t work. Breathe and forgive him again. Feels good, doesn’t it?

If your fear common sense tells you he isn’t the horse for you, then lay down your silly ego and don’t be a martyr, owning him forever in purgatory. Confess that he’s the perfect horse… for someone else. Trade him for a horse who better suits you. It isn’t a failure to do what’s best for both of you.

Then forgive yourself. We are our own worst enemy and holding a grudge against our own instincts is crazy-making. Show your heart some tolerance and ask your brain to rest. Leave the trash talk to others.

Sit a little taller and remind yourself that you have a noble goal. To collaborate with another species in equality has been the life’s work of élite equestrians and children from the beginning of time. You have a rich heritage.

And there’s time. Horses are patient teachers and you’re lucky to have lifetime tuition. Buy the hay and you’re enrolled. On the ground or in the saddle, the lessons will be learned. Horses are perfect that way.

Most of all, count your blessings. Fear Common sense is not a tumor to be cut out. Fear Common sense isn’t a weakness, just as bravado isn’t courage. Think of it as a training aid. Fear is common sense trying to get your attention. Say thank you.

Word choice matters. We need to understand each other’s instincts for self-preservation because that’s how both species–horses and humans–will flourish.

If your fear is truly too big to have a conversation with and you freeze in the saddle and can’t breathe, just stop. If your anxiety is debilitating, get help from a real therapist. Do it for your horse, if not yourself. No joke. Having the bogey man with his hands on the reins is a truly dangerous place.

Short of that, just keep chipping away. Make friends with your instincts. Smile more. Reward yourself for small wins. Breathe. Go slow. Show yourself the kindness that you show your horse. Let him carry you to a better self.

Ever think about where courage comes from? It isn’t born of arrogance and success. It’s purchased, one drop at a time, by internal moments of persistence in the face of challenge.

You’ve got that. It’s holding to a truth about yourself. And then horses. In the process, keep your love just an inch bigger than your fear common sense and you’ll be fine.
 
[Next: Riding Above Fear.]

annaprof150Anna Blake is a horse advocate, equine professional, award-winning author, and proud member of the herd at Infinity Farm, on the Colorado prairie. She trains horses and riders equine communication skills and dressage, and writes parables about horses and life. | Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

Books By Anna Blake

annab150

Published in Trot On Blogs

A police horse who went viral on social media, after posing in front of the Liver Bird Wings artwork, has died.

Murphy’s Law was a 21-year-old with 14 years service with Merseyside Police and was due to retire this November.

Murphy died after a sudden illness just a week after he was pictured while out on patrol with rider Constable Jenny Slade posing in front of street art in the Baltic Triangle.

Liver Bird wings artist Paul Curtis was one of the first to pay tribute, as he shared a photo of Murphy on Instagram.

Lindsay Gaven, Stable Manager for the Mounted Section, said: “Murphy was a kind affectionate horse with a big character and a real pleasure to have at the Mounted Section and a permanent fixture for many years.

 “He was part of the special team of horses that serve the communities of Merseyside and for many years a popular horse patrolling the football grounds.

 “His recent social media fame proved to us that he really was a star and he will be greatly missed by all the team.”

Published in Trot On Blogs

Heather Main sings to her steeds but insists she is "neither barmy nor living in fairyland" and claims Mozart is the horses' favourite classical composer

Opera singer turned horse trainer Heather Main gets the best out of her steeds by singing arias to them.

She strolls around her yard trotting out the classics and the horses respond by launching into a high-pitched whinny – and some even dance behind their stable doors. It may be unorthodox but Heather claims the amazing rapport has led to some impressive results on the track.

American Heather, who switched careers after marrying a vet, says: “First, I would like to stress that I’m neither barmy nor living in fairyland. When I start singing, the horses lean out of their boxes and join in.

“They prick their ears, look up and whinny. Some even dance.

“Mozart is their favourite. It’s proving to be a great way to get them relaxed and boost their wellbeing before a race.”...Read More
Published in Articles
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 08:49

Bella Hadid Back in the Saddle

Back in the saddle! Bella Hadid says her heart 'is re-filled with love' as she goes horse riding after abandoning Olympic dream due to being forced to abandoned her 2016 Olympic dream in dismay due to ongoing Lyme Disease problems.

But excited model Bella Hadid shared a video of herself going for a ride astride a mighty mare on social media on Tuesday. 

The 20-year-old professional clotheshorse looked hot to trot in her riding gear as she cantered around a show jumping course in her equestrian gear. 

On Instagram she said:

'Got to hack this beautiful baby girl today!!!! My one and greatest passion will always be horses and now I am back! with my heart re-filled with love and so much happiness.
'Missing my FWF family who taught me everything i know and made sure we always put in that extra EXTRA work... I love and miss you so much @ckinthebu @mpedd @jennykarazissis #Karazissis."
 
 

And in another post, where she is pictured patting her four-legged friend, she said: 'I am full again...Blessings.' 

Bella has said she has endured a gruelling battle with Lyme disease since 2012, which forced her to give up her, admittedly faint, dream of competing in the Olympics as an equestrian.

The model's mother, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid, 53, and her younger brother Anwar, 17, have also been diagnosed with the supposedly debilitating condition. 

Back in April Bella regaled her fans by revealing she was looking forward to getting back into riding once again now she and her family have bought a farm. 

 'My family keep me calm and make me happy.

'We just bought a farm and I hope that's the place we can relax and all be together. I'm going to start riding again and I'm excited about that.' 


 

Published in Articles

Yes! This did happen... The 8-year-old Grey Arabian got her head and front legs stuck outside of a trailer window Saturday in Ottumwa, USA. Greycee's owner, Megan Cook, captured footage of the incident, which has gone viral with more than 1.8 million views on her Facebook page alone.

Graycee managed to escape freely after the 35 minute ordeal - Eventually, a cousin arrived and used a loader to lift the horse's front legs enough to let the horse push herself back into the trailer — and out of danger.


 

Published in Articles
Monday, 24 July 2017 10:23

It’s a Ball Game

There are certain issues affecting guys that us female riders tend to forget when we suggest that our long suffering other halves learn to ride. The Better Half decided recently that he wanted to improve his riding and so he took himself off for an week's intensive course with plenty of speed and jumping to keep him interested! Amazingly he was still walking by the end, albeit wide legged and hobbling. He's been moaning about a few things since then, in particular that of which boxers will provide the desired level of support, something which according to him has been insufficiently researched! Rather than me putting words in his mouth here's his take on the issue...
 

Learning to ride sounded like a great idea. You can go fast she said, you can learn to jump she said, and all that was true right up until the moment when I landed a 60cm cross pole onto my nutsac. Desperately trying to keep my cool despite the tears filling my eyes, I carried on cantering round the arena and completed the course with one stirrup, one rein and zero composure. It was at that moment that I decided that if I was going to carry on with this something had to change, or risk almost certain infertility.

So began an internet search for the best solution for my bruised balls. After reading hundreds of forums looking for products and ideas I found that there were simply NO male riders commenting on the subject. There was a huge amount of female speculation and recommendation, including absurd suggestions such as wearing tights and using adhesive tape to pull them out of the way! I didn't fancy a back, sack and crack wax and I thought that the wife might start to ask some interesting questions if she found me wearing her tights...

I had a long hard think, and decided that I needed plenty of padding, and decent support; enough to keep the bags in the baggage area. I hit up Amazon and ordered a variety of padded cycling shorts; some with foam, some with gel and all with impact protection. The next few trial runs were painfully unsuccessful and subsequently I've invested in sports boxers which hold the boys up and out the way. Now it may seem excessive but with three pairs of boxers on; one supportive, one really tight, and one with padding, the boys are finally safe.

I'm a fairly tough nut but it's been a rough road discovering the best boxer solution. I recommend you try the triple approach but its up to you, the balls in your court.


joae150As it says on the tin, this is a personal blog about the journey Archie and I are taking in discovering the world of eventing. Archie is a 6 year old Irish gelding, and I am a 26 year old horse addict. I didn’t grow up in a family with horses, and Archie was the first horse I ever owned, having loaned for over 20 years. I hope that we can show other riders who perhaps don’t feel that they can achieve their dreams, that anything is possible!

Re-published by kind permission of Journey of an Amateur Eventer|Blog

Published in Trot On Blogs
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 09:08

Sorting The Wheat From The Chaff

There are plenty of products on the equine market with rather impressive price tags which make very ambitious claims about the results they can achieve. Although I am hesitant to make generalised assumptions, one of my biggest concerns is how rarely there is published evidence available to back up the claims made by these products. As with everything in life there is an element of personal experience and positive reinforcement; if you used it for one horse and it worked, then you are likely to use it again. The question really comes when we start examining whether the interventions, feed supplements and products we use on our horses can produce repeatable and reliable effects time after time.

One example which got me thinking about these issues were the products that are available for rehabilitation of injuries through supposed manipulation of infrared radiation (IR). The theory is that the materials used reflect the horses natural radiation back onto itself and since IR is known to increase circulation it is therefore inferred that it is beneficial for healing muscular, tendon and ligamentous injuries. In sports medicine for humans IR lamps are  often used to treat sports injuries with plenty of evidence to back up their use so I do not deny therefore it may well be beneficial in aiding a horse’s recovery from injury,  but what I question is whether equipment which does not provide an external source of IR is able to do this. How replicable would results be if a study were to be undertaken? These issues are something I touched on in my previous blog In search of the truth about joint supplements, but since writing that piece I have seen endless areas of equine care which are not backed up with appropriate research and evidence.

The closing comment to these sorts of discussions is what harm can it do? A vital point, and one which I duly take note of, however if I am going to shell out over £200 on a rug I would like a little more than, “well it won’t do any harm”.

I often use products which have limited or no evidence for their use, both on myself and on Archie, and this blog is not here to say that I feel these products should not be used, I merely propose that we ask the question. Be inquisitive, question the status quo, and one day the equine world might start answering.

joae150As it says on the tin, this is a personal blog about the journey Archie and I are taking in discovering the world of eventing. Archie is a 6 year old Irish gelding, and I am a 26 year old horse addict. I didn’t grow up in a family with horses, and Archie was the first horse I ever owned, having loaned for over 20 years. I hope that we can show other riders who perhaps don’t feel that they can achieve their dreams, that anything is possible!
 
 
Re-published by kind permission of Journey of an Amateur Eventer|Blog
 
Published in Trot On Blogs

This tiny animal is believed to be the world's smallest perfectly formed miniature horse.

Bluey, who at two-and-a-half months stands at just 15 inches tall, weighed a mere 6lbs when he was born in France.

The American Miniature was so tiny that owners Wil Weijters and Veronica Holtskot feared he would not survive.

However, the little pony battled through and is now warming the hearts of everyone who visits the Cremedela Miniature Horse Centre in Aquitaine, France.

He was photographed with five-year-old Alice Daisy by professional photographer Jeff Ross playing in the grass like a puppy... MORE
Published in Articles
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